Category Archives: Sustainability

how do you navigate change?

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This post from HandPicked Nation (via Small Measures) really touched me this morning/afternoon. So much so, I wanted to share it with you!

After shedding some tears and feeling the ping of their loss, it makes me want to be positive. strong. and looking ahead with gratitude.

Happy Friday Friends!

ONE LOVE-

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making the shift

Boy, is it good to be home!

Something I adore about holiday, as much as the actual holiday, is the return home. Stay away long enough and a certain deep gratification is aroused. We’ve returned to cooler temps, lovely afternoon showers and happy animals.

Also upon return is the motivation to really get things done. We’ve talked long enough. The flower beds have an appointment with my shovel and hands as well as the mulch pile. The dead locust trees have finally met their end, leaving their sole purpose to warming the fires this winter.The grass is cut, the house is clean and the corn is canned! Other projects on the to do list, each with their own appointment, will be met with determination!

Other things I appreciate about holiday is the reminders while away. When you slow down, put work aside and really partake in the break, you are reminded of things you like to do. Like, sitting on the porch and reading a book. Doing yoga. Coloring with the kid, etc. Prior to holiday I did loads of coloring, but rarely any reading and definitely not yoga. Coming home I have brought these little treats back. Making it a point to treat myself. Balance the day with 15 minutes of reading. 10 minutes of yoga in the morning. While those aren’t ideal amounts of time to indulge in these habits, it is still a treat. I don’t lose my day, my work or my time with my child. And that is exactly what a holiday is! Sweet reminders that, yes, somehow, it can all be done!

ONE LOVE-


No Signal

(photo from google image)

After many discussions, and for more reasons than one, we have FINALLY called it quits on the T.V.!!!! I couldn’t be more thrilled with our decision. We nipped it in the bud.

Already, we’ve sat on the porch before bedtime, ate dinner alfresco per daughters request, played kickball in the yard, hung with the pups, dabbled with the paddle boards, read several articles and have gotten a lot further along in paper work than we have all summer break. I have visions of getting novels read and tea sipped this winter by the fire. Long nights of deep discussion while noshing on freshly baked goods.

Of course, we will do net-flix-a-booger. We aren’t totally going A-Wall! I will have to catch up on How I met your Mother on occasion, maybe a little Dexter too. The little one would miss Curious George terribly on those not so feel good days. But there is a lot of time to be filled now that there is dead air. I’m positive we will have no trouble filling it.

Just more of that fine balance coming our way!!

ONE LOVE-


the heat is on

(the sunflower. essence of summer. gifted in csa box)

I’m sure you can only imagine where we’ve been. Yep. We’ve been in the kitchen cranking up the canner. And boy have we canned some stuff. We got the green beans canned, potatoes jarred, the lemon mint vinegar put away and managed to get some beet and sage relish under our belts.

During all the time prepping, on top of the time canning, my wheels really began to churn. As we got deeper into the ebb and flow of the canning process the deeper my thoughts went. My first initial thoughts were why would anyone not want to can. The empowerment to take locally grown food and turn it into something for your family to take delight in on those long winter nights is pure pleasure. That was the first twenty minutes.

About an hour into the process I started thinking about my grandmothers, their lives and their chores as farm wives. Children, cooking, cleaning, feeding the farm help, feeding her family, tending to the family garden and canning all the goods that come from the garden. That was their job. Full time, year round, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Grandma Birdie had three children. Grandma Iris had four. Now granted they had help at the house doesn’t mean they were sipping mint julips on the porch while barking orders. No. These were farm wives. They worked their fingers to the bone.

These thoughts led me to begin thinking why women and families left such practices behind. Oh the thoughts started swirling then. Surely, women got tired of the long hours without pay and demanded more respect. No, that really wasn’t it. Not once in Birdie’s life did I ever hear her mutter one negative word about her life. It was what they did. No question. Without pay? They got paid when the crops where sold. Their duties were symbiotic with all duties required on the farm. They were part of their own ebb and flow. Duties required to make a farm successful, just like planting, watering and tending the crops.

So, if it wasn’t that then really what was the reason? We are probably two hours in now for a four hour process. A break from my thoughts to help tend to my own child and animals. Of course, I have help. My husband is partaking 100% in the processing which actually has me involved only half of the time as my predecessors. Once I return though I am right back into thought.

I start thinking back to all the farm stories I heard my entire childhood. My PopPop would gather the men all around at every family gathering and he would roar out stories. The good, the bad, the ugly. Smaller farms were getting bought out by big Corporate companies. So, what now? Maybe those wives didn’t have a choice but to find work outside of the home to help support their families. My grandmothers continued to stay home and tend to their homes, gardens, now grandchildren and canning. I do believe that the population split for many reasons. Leaving less families canning.

Bringing along the baby boomers. Our mothers. Fighting for all. Why do we have to stay home clean your mess? We won’t go into the details but strong woman became a logo in many homes. I’m certain this was the demise of canning. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for the stand. The cause was and is great. There are more and more opportunities for women like myself to succeed in the work place. I am able to be a successful co-owner of a business that is doing extremely well. My partner, aka husband, is proud to run our business side by side. Equally. But I’m not really concerned about the political issues women face, not in this post anyway! I’m here, in thought, trying to figure out what happened to the task of canning.

Here comes my generation. Generation X. The Generation that all feared. Well, maybe not feared but with a name like that there doesn’t seem like there was much confidence in us! We are the generation, all of us, ALL men and women,  trying to find a balance between parenting, working, house chores, choosing and maintaining sustainable practices. We are trying to connect with our past and flow with the future. Make them work together. So, we both clean the house, both answer customer service calls, both tend to the child, both choose new practices and figure out how to do them together.

As we are doing this all together there still feels like there is a gap. While we were both prepping the potatoes, the water bath, the jars, and lids our child was left to entertain herself. A little TV here, torture the dog there (the dog thrives on the torture:), play with her toys in her room. All fine, positive skills. The balance was/is hard for me. I like to interact with her. We do that whole attachment parenting thing. Even though she doesn’t nurse or sleep with us anymore (all her choice) we still like to connect with her. Challenge her. Help her strive. For the time being, until she is old enough to partake, canning in the kitchen took me away from that. Some recipes take up to 4-5 hours.

So where’s the balance? It titter totters everyday for all us. It is an art we all try to master. Canning is making a come back. I love the craft. Can’t wait to teach the child. However, if you can’t find room for it in your life without throwing off all your balance then that is ok too. At the end of the day you have to do what is right for your family. Make choices with your spouse that are right for you all. As for me, I will choose specific days to can. Not go wild like last week. It was a bit heated (literally) with the canner on full steam for three and half days straight. It is hard. It is time consuming. It is rewarding. Just remember, if you choose to can, respect your time and energy. If not, that ok too.

ONE LOVE-

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full support

My Mom and Daddy have given me their full support when it comes to my canning endeavors.

Upon our arrival for a long weekend with my folks and bro I heard my Daddy say, “I need to go to the tractor supply store if you want to ride.” We piled into the four door diesel truck and headed up the road. While gathering his odds and ends he decided I needed some real canning supplies! It was premeditated on his part. No more boiling water spilling over my makeshift canner.

When we realized they were all out of canners we piled back in the truck, headed to the garden center and hardware store. They, too, said they were sold out. But when my Daddy asked about a pot for steaming oysters the guy was shocked to find a pressure cooker and canner on the shelf. The last two.

So, with canners in tow we headed to the farmers market. Green Beans, Beet Relish and a bucket of Potatoes (gifted by my brother) will hit the boiling waters this week! Stepping up the game for sure! Never used a pressure cooker before…

(Also, when I got home my Mother-in-Law had gifted my husband with a canning cookbook for Father’s Day! That’s my kind of gift! Thanks Meena!)

Thanks Daddy. Thanks Mom. Even at the age of thirty-five it is still nice to have parental support!

ONE LOVE-


hard boiled

Remember this post a while back regarding the request for local property owners in Kill Devil Hills, NC to have the choice to maintain a max of six backyard chickens if they wanted? Here is the follow up article and current status of the votes…

Click on Photo

If you are not familiar with the area it is located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A beautiful, popular vacation destination for folks all along the eastern seaboard and beyond. It is off the beaten path. You have to make a point to get there. The vibe is mellow, the locals are loyal to their tromping ground (not in a pirate way, in a ‘we love where we live and partake in the sunshine and sand as much as possible’ way). When you are there, the sole purpose is sun, sand and waves. Nothing more, nothing less. One of our favorite places in the world.

The route that takes you to the Outer Banks is my brother’s tromping grounds. It is 95% + local farm land. Corn, Soy Beans, Cotton, Watermelon, a local, fresh produce stand in each town you drive through grounds. The shops and towns are all surrounded by fertile farmed land. Farmed by generations of North Carolinian families. Rich in farming heritage. This year, the crops are more beautiful than I have ever seen. Mother Nature has been kind to the 24/7 guardians of the land and crops.

I hope that the local residents of the OBX can find a compromise with the county officials. I hope to see more chickens carefully and artfully placed in local backyards. I hope for the community and us regular tourist that we start seeing open air markets with local farmers that are literally just down the road. More local crafts and local fresh eggs all along Highway 12. The community is asking for it. Craving it. They want better choices for their family and neighbors. How could that be too much to ask?

ONE LOVE-


just peachy

I never really considered myself a southern girl. I mean, I am from the south, my family are farmers and I love bar-b-que. Yes, I’m southern. But, as noted, I don’t have the greenest thumb considering my background and I leave the south a lot to travel.  It wasn’t till I started cooking, baking and eating local, seasonal fruits and vegetables that I recognized just how rooted I am in my southernness. Defining southern summers is when I accepted there is no denying, I am deeply southern. Two definitions for starters, Watermelon and Peaches.

So, when we went down the mountain to visit our friends located on the NC/SC border it was like a kid in a candy store when they took us to a local fruit and veggie stand. Why the giddiness? Three words. South Carolina Peaches. Juicy, ripe, ready to devour southern peaches! And boy did we slurp! Between the Nectarines and the Peaches we were quite sticky.

Of course, we bought some home as they are starting to show up at the stores but not the outdoor markets just yet. Ever since I was gifted with the “Canning and Preserving with Ashley English” book I have been counting down the days to make the Peach Lavender Butter. Yes, that is what I said!! We have three over the top, beautiful lavender bushes we planted when we moved into our current residence. Never used them for culinary purposes until just recently. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this treat of deliciousness. More thrilled with the opportunity to can such delicacy!

After gathering all the ingredients and contents to can we started at 9:00 am and finished up right around 11:30.

Blanched the beauties, which is an amazingly simple task!

Stored and ready for winter delights!

Check out this post of the same recipe from same author in detail!

Happy Summer Slurping!!

ONE LOVE-